How to Remove Spray Paint From Wood? (5 DIY Methods)

The strong adhesion of spray paint to wood makes it difficult to remove the spray without damaging the wood but not impossible. Here is how to remove spray paint from wood.

You can remove spray paint from wood by wiping the spray paint with acetone or rubbing alcohol. Both of these solvents contain alcohol that will dissolve and remove traces of spray paint from the wood.

You can also remove spray paint from wood by using chemical or water-based paint stripers. Paint stripers contain active ingredients that will dissolve and soak in the spray paint making it easier to scrape off the spray paint.

There are other methods to remove spray paint from wood and this post reveals the best of them including household products that work.

Can You Remove Spray Paint Without Damaging The Wood?

You can remove spray paint from wood without damaging the wood. To do this, you’ll have to dissolve the spray paint using solvents like acetone and rubbing alcohol. These solvents will soften the spray paint so it’s easier to remove without damaging the wood. You can also sand the wood to get rid of the spray paint. Both methods will remove the paint without damaging the wood.

Of all types of paints that are used on wooden surfaces, spray paint is often the most difficult to remove. The reason for this is that spray paints adhere to wood better than regular paints. When paint is sprayed on wood either on purpose or accidentally, the paint is sprayed at tremendous pressure and speed.

When making contact with the wood, the spray paint immediately soaks in the wood fibers due to the pressure at which the paint is being released from the paint sprayer. This allows the spray paint to stick to the wood and become difficult to remove without damaging the wood.

However, you can still remove the spray paint without damaging the wood. To do this, you have to dissolve the spray paint first with solvents. When the paint is dissolved, it becomes easier to remove or strip without damaging the wood.

If you try to remove spray paint from wood without dissolving the paint first, the wood will get damaged. To prevent damage to the wood while removing the spray paint, you should also stay away from harsh chemicals and acids.

Next, let’s check out how to remove spray paint from wood without damaging the wood.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Wood Without Chemicals?

The best way to remove spray paint from wood is without using chemicals – This way, the wood is under less threat of damage since chemicals aren’t used. Here are the top two ways to remove spray paint from wood without using chemicals:

  1. Sanding
  2. Baking soda and boiling water

This guide will show you how both methods work and the tools you’ll need for each method.

1. Remove Spray Paint From Wood By Sanding

Remove Spray Paint From Wood By Sanding

The most common chemical-free method to use for removing spray paint from wood is sandpaper. When you sand the painted spot, the grit of the sandpaper will gradually wear the spray paint till it’s completely worn off from the surface.

The best part of sanding the spray paint off of the wood is that the sandpaper leaves the wood in a smooth condition.

Here are the tools and supplies you’ll need for this task:

  • Sandpaper of different grits
  • Paper towels
  • Rags
  • A vacuum
  • A power sander

Here is how to do it:

  1. Wipe the spray-painted surface to remove dust nibs and grain that can dull the sandpaper
  2. If you’ll be sanding a large wood surface like the floor, you’ll need to attach sandpaper to the sander
  3. Sand the spray paint off using medium-grit sandpaper (150-grit) will work fine
  4. After sanding remove dust with a vacuum and check if the spray paint is off
  5. If you still have spray paint on the wood, continue sanding
  6. When the spray paint is off, sand the wood with fine sandpaper to smoothen the surface
  7. Remove dust and refinish the wood.

2. Baking Soda and Boiling Water

Baking Soda and Boiling Water

To many people, baking soda is not a chemical and we would be adopting that perspective here. Baking soda is a naturally occurring alkaline powder that poses no threat at all to the wood.

Baking soda will also not harm you so there is no need for us to classify it as a chemical. Though the alkaline substance in baking soda will not harm you or the wood, it will remove spray paint.

For this method, you’ll need these:

  • Baking soda or soda ash
  • A bowl of hot water
  • Rags
  • A waterproof bag
  • A turning stick

Here is how to do it:

  1. Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda in hot water
  2. Stir the mixture thoroughly using a turning stick – ensure there are no lumps in the mixture
  3. Leave the baking soda solution to settle for a few minutes
  4. Use a rag to apply the baking soda over the spray paint and leave for 15 minutes
  5. After a while, the baking soda will cause the spray paint to lift and bubble from the wood
  6. When the paint starts to bubble, you can wipe it and the baking soda into a waterproof bag for proper disposal
  7. Wipe and clean the wood and leave it to dry before sanding.

Other non-chemical products and methods that can remove spray paint from wood include:

  1. Sandblasting – only for very large surfaces
  2. Scrape the paint off – can work for small paint stains
  3. Wash the spray paint off with soap and water – works for fresh spray paint stains on wood.

Next, let’s check out how to use chemicals to remove spray paint from wood.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Wood With Chemicals?

Chemicals are the quickest and most effective method to remove spray paint from wood. But, you should know that many of these chemicals can be harsh on wood.

So be careful while using chemicals on wood. The top two safest chemicals to use for removing spray paint from wood are:

  1. Acetone
  2. Paint Strippers

This guide will show you how to use both chemicals carefully to remove spray paint from wood.

1. Using Acetone

Using Acetone

The first method is to use acetone to remove the spray paint. To do this, you’ll need to expose the spray paint to acetone.

Since acetone is an alcohol-based solvent, it will dissolve and remove the spray paint (alcohol is a natural paint remover). You can also use rubbing alcohol if you don’t have acetone.

For this method, you’ll need these:

  • A bottle of acetone
  • Clean rags
  • A paint scraper
  • A waterproof bag

Here is how to do it:

  1. Wipe or vacuum the painted spot to remove dust and dirt
  2. Pour some acetone into a bowl and dip a rag in the bowl
  3. Use the rag to apply the acetone over the spray-painted wood and wait for about 15 minutes
  4. When the paint begins to bubble, wipe it off with a rag and put the wiped spray paint in a waterproof bag
  5. Apply acetone on leftover spray paint and let it soak before wiping off the paint again with a rag
  6. After removing the spray paint, wipe the wood clean and let it dry.

2. Use a Paint Stripper

Use a Paint Stripper

 

Paint strippers are chemical-based products that can remove spray paint from wood easily. The paint stripper is coated with paint-removing additives.

When you put the paint stripper on the spray paint, the paint-removing additives in the paint stripper will penetrate and dissolve the spray paint. This will cause the spray paint to lose its adhesion to the wood and come off.

For this method, you’ll need these:

  • A paint stripper
  • A putty knife
  • Paintbrushes
  • Rags
  • A waterproof bag or paint container
  • Mineral spirits

Here is how to do it:

  1. Apply the paint stripper directly over the spray paint
  2. Press the paint stripper into the spray paint and wait for about 20 minutes – check the manufacturer’s instructions for the time to wait
  3. When the spray paint is dissolved, you can scrape it off using a paint scrapper – put the scrapped spray paint in an empty paint can or waterproof bag
  4. Wipe the wood with mineral spirits to neutralize the paint thinner – you can also use rubbing alcohol for this
  5. Leave the wood to dry and sand it after with fine sandpaper

Here are other chemicals that can remove spray paint from wood:

  • Paint thinner – for removing dried spray paint
  • Vinegar (a mild acid) – for removing fresh spray paint

Next, let’s check out how to remove dried spray paint from wood.

How To Remove Dried Spray Paint From Wood?

To remove dried spray paint from wood, you’ll need to dissolve or soften the spray paint first using a solvent. When the dried spray paint is soft, it becomes much easier to scrape or wipe it off of the surface than when it was hard.

Common solvents that can be used to dissolve the dried spray paint are acetone, rubbing alcohol, and paint thinner being the most effective.

Here is a guide on how to remove dried spray paint from wood:

  1. Pour some paint thinner on a clean rag
  2. Use the rag to wipe the dried spray paint repeatedly and leave the paint thinner to soak in the spray paint
  3. After a few minutes, the dried spray paint will become weak and soft – you can begin wiping it off now
  4. Wipe off or scrape off the dissolved spray paint from the wood into a waterproof container
  5. Use mineral spirits to wipe the wood after removing the spray paint – this helps to remove chemical residue that can damage the wood.

You should know that in some cases, the paint thinner alone will not remove the dried spray paint especially if the dried spray paint was sealed with a waterproof sealant like polyurethane or lacquer.

In such cases, you’ll have to use a chemical-based paint stripper to remove the dried spray paint completely.

Other Products You Can Use To Remove Spray Paint From Wood

Pressure Washer

You can use a pressure washer to remove spray paint from wood but you have to set the pressure washer to the right setting.

A pressure setting between 1500 and 3000 PSI is often enough to remove spray paint. However, whether you want to try this method or not depends on you. This is because pressure washers can damage delicate and antique wood surfaces.

Pressure washers use a lot of water and the water is usually released at high pressure on the wood. Exposing a wood surface especially antique wood to that much moisture is bad for the wood.

Also, the wrong pressure setting can easily break and damage delicate wood. So pressure washers might not be your best bet to remove spray paint from wood.

Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish removers can remove spray paint from wood but you should go for nail polish removers that contain acetone. Such nail polish removers are more effective at removing paints and will remove spray paint from wood too.

However, you should know that nail polish removers commonly come in small containers so if you’ll be using the polish remover to remove multiple coats of spray paint, you’ll be needing a lot of bottles which can spike up the cost in the long run. So, you might want to try another method first.

WD-40

WD-40 will not remove spray paint from wood because WD-40 is a cleaning and stain-removing agent and not a spray paint remover. If you wipe spray paint with WD-40, it’s the stains and oily scum on the surface that will be removed and not the spray paint itself.

Goo Gone

Goo gone can’t remove spray paint from wood because it’s not a paint remover. Goo Gone is a cleaning product designed to be friendly and safe on painted and stained surfaces. As such, goo gone can’t remove multiple coats of spray paints from wood.

Goo gone is very similar to WD-40 when it comes to removing spray paints from wood. Both products aren’t strong enough to dissolve spray paint but you can use them to remove small spray paint stains on wood.

Final Words

In summary, you can remove spray paint from wood easily by following any of the methods above. Each method has been tested and works fine for removing spray paints.

You should always put on protective gear when working with paint-removing chemicals to prevent injuries.

Also, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions so you don’t damage the wood or harm yourself. Finally, if there are multiple coats of spray paint, it’s better to use a chemical-based paint remover.

Leave a Comment